HARTSVILLE, S.C. – If Casey Hancock and his five partners stay on track, Hartsville will have a microbrewery opening in the first quarter of 2020.
Hancock gave an update to the Sunrise Rotary Club at its Aug. 21 meeting at the Greater Hartsville Chamber of Commerce on the progress for Wild Heart Brewing Company.
The group of investors plans to open Wild Heart Brewing in the former Gardner’s Fertilizer building at 317 Railroad Ave. in downtown Hartsville.
Hancock and his mother previously owned the building and sold it. He said that when the opportunity to buy it back came up, they jumped on it.
“Everything just fell in place after my mother and I had the opportunity to repurchase the property,” he said.
Hancock said he had been hearing people talk about wanting a brewery in Hartsville.
Hancock said his good friend Zach Riner will be the head brewmaster. He said Riner wanted to move back to Hartsville with his family.
Financial partners were located, and the process began.
Hancock said it will be a microbrewery, which means they will brew their own beer on site and serve it on premises.
“We plan to have some homemade sodas as well,” Hancock said.
In a phone interview, Riner said, “I was a home brewer for years.”
He moved from Hartsville with his wife to Myrtle Beach, where is learned commercial brewing on a large scale. He said he did that for about two years.
He said he moved to Hartsville in 2006 and fell in love with it and is pleased to be back. Riner said he can’t think of a better place to raise his 3-year-old twin girls.
The future entrepreneurs said they have been experimenting and perfecting the art of crafting beer.
“We have a big catalogue of beers,” Riner said. “We have around eight to 10 core beers that we are working with.”
“I’ve been doing some experimenting,” he said. “I have put my heart and soul into this. It is an idea that I’ve had for a long time.”
Riner said he is excited and can’t wait to open.
Hancock said they eventually hope to expand into distribution of their beers around the state.
Riner’s younger brother, Jordan, will be one of the chefs in the restaurant where they will serve brick-oven pizza.
Hancock said they will serve other items, too, including some sandwiches, and vegetarian and vegan options.
Gardener’s was started by Hancock’s grandfather, Harrell Gardener. The building is thought to date back to the 1920s and was moved to its current location.
The building is in a major redevelopment area of the city called Canalside Project.
Hancock said the exterior will be kept much as it has been in the past. It will have a tin roof.
There will be lots of windows and an outdoor deck.
“We are designing it to be family-friendly and pet friendly,” Hancock said.
He said they plan to have yard games for children and adults and a special area for pets.